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Overall Rating

Awesome: 28%
Worth A Look50%
Average: 20%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 2%

3 reviews, 32 user ratings

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Tigerland (2000)
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by Brian McKay

"This ain't no Lion Country Safari theme park!"
4 stars

Whoa, hold the phone. Do you mean to tell me that Joel Schumaker, the man who most recently brought us such monuments to mediocrity as BAD COMPANY, and who single-handedly destroyed the already overly-campy BATMAN franchise, has actually directed a small, well-written boot camp drama? Holee Keerist! But he can't take all the credit, as the real deal-maker on this film is Irish newcomer Colin Farrell's breakout performance - even if his "Texan" drawl occasionally lapses into his native accent.

Tigerland is the Vietnam era tale of a group of army recruits (some voluntary, some drafted) in training at the Fort Polk, Louisiana boot camp. The grueling regimen, which lasts several weeks, is to end with the final week being spent in the film's namesake, which is touted as "the closest thing to Vietnam you can find in America"

The first several minutes of the film are not particularly engaging - just the typical stuff we've seen in a hundred other boot camp movies. Haggard recruits being rousted out of bed by screaming drill Sergeant's, etc. etc. But then we meet Bozz (Farrell), as he's being released from the stockade for the umpteenth time since he started basic training three months ago. Bozz is everything that the army hates - free-thinking, easy-going, compassionate, and above all, an incorrigible smart-ass. He makes no bones about the fact that he hates the army and has no intention of taking part in the war. Only the draft made him come, and only the fear of Leavenworth makes him stay.

While he is the bane of his superiors' existence, Bozz has an unmistakable and polarizing effect on the men. Most of them think he's a hero bucking the system. The rest think he's a troublemaking fuckup in serious need of a blanket party. But Bozz isn't trying to be either. He just refuses to buy into the army's routine of brutality and propaganda, and as much as it irks them, his senior officers recognize that he is a born leader who will refuse to lead until they give him no other choice.

Another fact that infuriates his superiors is that Bozz is something of a barracks lawyer. While he is unable to find the loophole that will enable his own escape, he excels at finding ways to get some of the men out on one technicality or another. Soon, word gets around that "The only way to get out of going to 'Nam is to pray to Jesus, or talk to Roland Bozz".

Despite his iconoclastic behavior, Bozz is a born leader, and by the time he gets to Tigerland, it is his reluctant resolve that will hold the squad together. Along the way, he befriends Paxton (Matthew Davis), a volunteer who wants to go to 'Nam to "do some good", as well as glean experience fodder with which to write the great American novel and be the next Hemmingway. Bozz also makes an enemy of Wilson (Shea Whigham), a racist psychopath who believes he is entitled to the position of squad leader. The acting all-around is solid, but other noteworthy performances include Cole Hauser, who is surprisingly good as Tigerland's Sergeant Cota. A vet with two tours under his belt, Cota is a sober contrast to the usual screaming of the other drill sergeants, and has a much more profound effect on Bozz with his openly frank "this is not a fucking joke anymore" attitude. Clifton Collins Jr. also does a good turn as Miter, Bozz's predecessor as squad leader who begs Bozz to help him get out.

Drive-In Triple Feature Drop and Give Me Twenty Soldier Picks for Tigerland:

Full Metal Jacket: Still the ultimate Vietnam/Boot Camp movie. Lee Ermey's portrayal of "Sergeant Hartman" makes any other Drill Sergeant in the history of cinema look like a complete pussy.

Stripes: In a lighter vein, the squad smartass (Bill Murray in his prime) once again ends up being the heart and soul of the team. "DAT'S DA FACT, JACK!"

Although the film occasionally tries a little too hard to tug on the heartstrings, most of the time it doesn't have to try at all. Just like Bozz ends up holding the squad together, Farrell holds the film together as the one element that sets this a notch above the average military drama. His charismatic portrayal makes Bozz the kind of guy who you would want to have in your corner when the shit goes down . . . or when you just want to go pick up chicks.

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originally posted: 10/16/02 09:54:46
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell good enough 4 stars
8/11/10 Robert Smith Excellent; an example of narrative and storytelling at a fundamental level. 4 stars
7/08/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* A movie that alot dont know about. Its a wonderful movie. Alot of great meanings! 4 stars
11/09/08 mr.mike Despite Farrell , did not find it all that compelling. 3 stars
8/06/07 ravenmad there's something quite authentic about this movie. 4 stars
1/17/07 MP Bartley Schumacher gets surprisingly gritty. Excellent acting too. 4 stars
9/07/05 charity great film, realistic and funny at times 4 stars
3/28/05 indrid cold An OK story that drags a little. Poor Schumacher has to steal Saving Private Ryan's look. 3 stars
6/18/04 Fox GOOOOOOOD 5 stars
12/29/03 Annemarie "the trigger movie" 5 stars
11/29/03 Jaron A great war film, much better than 'Platoom' and a Great premise... 5 stars
9/30/03 George Partington tightly crafted film; great rebel performance 4 stars
7/14/03 B Pearson Great movie depicting young mens feelings about going to war 4 stars
4/18/03 ALCHAMIST damn good,Farrel your the man 5 stars
1/29/03 Jimmy Jamez worth a viewing or two 4 stars
8/25/02 Turkish great movie about the draft, and P. Rodriguez doesnt kno shit 5 stars
8/13/02 blakers a good film 4 stars
6/23/02 7of9 Solid characters including plenty of attitude 4 stars
6/07/02 karan classsss 5 stars
4/05/02 P.Rodriguez Absolute Garbage 1 stars
1/29/02 The Bomb 69 Schumacher makes awesome war movie, more news at 11:00 5 stars
11/06/01 matthew smith a sort of documentary but effective, impressive, bold and compelling film 5 stars
10/14/01 Belinda Cant see why all the hype too many "Mother Fuckers" alright ! 3 stars
10/14/01 Mike I went through basic training in 1971. This movie caught the feel of it better than any oth 5 stars
10/13/01 Clarance I saw a sneak peak with Schumacher himself! What a treat!! 5 stars
9/18/01 Ice That movie was HOT! 5 stars
8/16/01 Derick C I don't really care for any type of war movies, but I found Tigerland to be very great 5 stars
5/22/01 Christy Bartlett Excellent movie that will launch many future stars' careers 5 stars
5/15/01 Tricia ( it is stated in Schumacher's biography, he did those batman flicks 4 stars
12/11/00 sheena tom guiry was awesome!! 4 stars
11/28/00 lola Just awsome! 5 stars
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  06-Oct-2000 (R)


  18-Oct-2001 (MA)

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